How to Tell It’s Time for a New Car Battery
Have you ever had your car stall on the road, only to find out later that it stopped because your car’s battery died? It can be a frustrating experience that was totally preventable.
There are many reasons why a car battery dies. One obvious reason is the car battery is old. Car batteries typically last three to five years, but certain conditions can affect the life of a battery. These include not starting the car for long periods of time, leaving the car’s headlights, inside lights, or the radio or air conditioner on when the car engine is off, a leak in or corrosion of the battery terminals, or a failed voltage regulator in the car’s alternator. Extreme weather conditions, hot or cold, can shorten the life of a car battery. Many electric components, i.e., power seats and windows, navigation system, electric seat heaters, powerful stereos, phone charger, etc., can likewise take a toll on a car battery and shorten its life.
Here are early signs that can alert you that your car’s battery is weakening. Pay attention to these signs so you don’t get a nasty surprise on the road.
Slow engine start
False starts, clicking sound when your turn the key to start the car, or a sputtering of the engine can mean your battery is defective or that it is wearing out.
If a battery is losing its charge, you will notice the car’s lights becoming dimmer, or the electronic components in the car are not running on full power, i.e. the car’s cell phone charger is not working properly.
If you see a white, ashy substance on the terminals of the car battery, it could be a sign of corrosion. Corroded terminals can cause voltage issues and lead to problems starting your car.
If you open the hood of your car and smell something foul, like rotten eggs, it could be a sign that your battery is leaking.
Irregular car battery shape
A car battery has a rectangular shape. Extreme weather temperatures can cause your car battery to swell or even crack. Never try jump starting your car if the battery is leaking acid or cracked. A spillover could ruin your car engine.
It is always good to have your car’s battery performance checked regularly. You could also invest in a battery charger if you don’t plan on using your car for an extended period.
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